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Why faith in God really can relieve pain

For centuries, religious believers have endured suffering with impressive fortitude.

Now scientists claim to have discovered that faith in God really can relieve pain.

New research at Oxford University has found that the Christian martyrs may well have been able to draw on their religion to reduce the agony of, for example, being burnt at the stake.

In a bizarre experiment, academics at The Oxford Centre For Science Of The Mind ‘tortured’ 12 Roman Catholics and 12 atheists with electric shocks as they studied a painting of the Virgin Mary.

They found that the Catholics seemed to be able to block out much of the pain.

And, using the latest brain-scanning techniques, they also discovered that the Catholics were able to activate part of the brain associated with conditioning the experience of pain.

• Full story at the Mail on Sunday.

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